5 Must Know Pathfinder Tricks in Adobe Illustrator CC

ILLUSTRATOR TUTORIAL: LEARN SOME HIDDEN FEATURES OF THE PATHFINDER! | Check out this video and learn a few secret little things that you may not have known about using the Pathfinder panel in Adobe Illustrator.

In this Illustrator tutorial, I’ll break it all down for you when it comes to using the Pathfinder. Creating compound shapes to open up unlimited versatility when creating a custom shape with pathfinder, reduce additional anchor points, making and releasing compound paths/shapes, removing unfilled artwork automatically, and a cool hotkey to repeat pathfinder operations with ease.

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Tutorial Recording Notes:

Disclaimer: these are the actual notes I used to record this video and are written in a language you may or may not understand. Hopefully, you find them useful or cool.

  1. Alt/Opt + click on path operation to create a compound shape that you can click into iso mode with and move shapes to have the shape auto-update as you work
  2. Get rid of redundant points
  3. Making and Releasing Compound Paths (1:43 of the linked video)
  4. Divide and Outline will remove unpainted artwork
  5. Repeat Pathfinder Operation via Cmd + 4 or the fly out menu
  6. Use the courthouse shape and show the Alt + click on pathfinder tools to create a compound shape that I can click into and adjust as if it’s a live shape and create something right there on the fly.
  7. Use the second shape to show the “Remove Redundant Points” feature
  8. Use the third shape and select both shapes and use the pathfinder fly out menu and create a Compound path and enter that path and within this we can now choose a Shape Mode and really have the freedom to customize how it looks. ALSO, after making a change, you can select the compound shape, use that same fly out menu, and release the compound shape to restore the original fills and strokes of the shapes before you started messing anything up.
  9. Show the difference when you use the angled square to punch out the donut shape vs. when you turn on the setting to get rid of unpainted artwork.
  10. You can quickly duplicate the last used pathfinder function by using the hotkey Cmd/Ctrl + 4. This is useful because you may be working on a fairly complex shape where you’re doing a bunch of merging or dividing, etc… This allows you to focus and keep your mouse where you’re doing the selecting and then BLAMO hit Cmd/Ctrl + 4 to perform the same pathfinder function once more. NOTE: You can also see this in the fly out menu, but it’s much faster to just use the hotkey.